How to Cheer Yourself Up (28 Tips + Expert Insights)

I want to start by saying that if you’re feeling down, you’re not alone. We all have days when life feels like an uphill battle, and our emotions get the best of us.

But I’m here to tell you that there’s hope, and you have the power to turn things around!

In this article, I’ll share some simple but tried-and-true ways to boost your mood and find happiness, even on the toughest days. These things have helped me and countless others through tough times, and I know they can help you, too!

So stick around because you might just find a few that’ll work for you. I promise you won’t regret it.

Blast Your Favorite Upbeat Music

You know how a grey skied morning can suddenly turn sunny with just the right song? That’s what happens to me every time I hit play on my feel-good playlist; there’s magic in those beats.

I think it’s because songs we love remind us of good times and get our bodies moving. So if you’re feeling low, turn to your music app and let your favorite tunes do their thing.

Example: Make a playlist called “Happy Vibes” with songs that make you dance, sing along at the top of your lungs in the car, and share a track with a friend to brighten their day, too!

"Create a playlist and give it a title that you think is funny, such as the 'Snap out of it, Grouchy' playlist with your favorite songs. Put all the songs that you find uplifting on the list and take a walk while you listen."

— Helen Godfrey | Licensed Professional Counselor and Owner, The Authentic Path

Do a Quick Workout

I know, I know — when you’re feeling blah, working out is the last thing you want to do. But trust me, moving your body for just a bit can really cheer you up.

You don’t have to do anything crazy; a quick walk or some stretching can do wonders. It’s all about those happy chemicals in your brain that get going when you move around.

  • Dance around for a few minutes to your favorite jam.
  • Take a walk and let the fresh air kiss your cheeks.
  • Do a quick set of jumping jacks to get your blood pumping.
"Getting in the habit of exercising regularly can help reduce stress and anxiety. A short walk during lunch can give you that extra boost to keep going through the day feeling happier. Use an exercise tracker and note your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly accomplishments."

— Helen Godfrey | Licensed Professional Counselor and Owner, The Authentic Path

Plan a Get-Together with Friends

Hanging out with friends is one of the best ways to feel better. You don’t need a big plan or lots of money; just being together is what matters.

Looking forward to meeting up with them can brighten up your whole week. And when you finally get together, whether it’s for a simple meal or a movie night, it’s the best feeling.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Whip up some snacks with buddies and share some good eats.
  • Plan a movie night where everyone brings their favorite snack.
  • Break out the board games and see who has the best strategy (or goofiest luck).
"There have been many articles lately on how much healthier women are when they spend time with their friends on a regular basis."

— Patti Phillips | Author and Life Coach, The Queen of Damn Near Everything

Set Small, Achievable Goals

Okay, setting goals sounds like a big deal, but really, we’re talking easy stuff here. Think about things you’re sure you can do without too much sweat.

When you tick these little to-dos off your list, it’s a thrill. And let me tell you, they add up to big-time happiness.

Tip: Try setting a goal to read a page of a book each night or to tidy up one small area of your room. Small wins, my friend, small wins!

Treat Yourself to a Favorite Snack or Meal

Who doesn’t love a good nibble or a tasty meal, right? It’s a treat for your taste buds and feels like you’re giving yourself a little pat on the back.

Go ahead, savor that slice of pizza or those homemade cookies. It’s a way to celebrate the small moments in life, one bite at a time.

What this looks like:

  • Pick your go-to comfort food, like a chocolate bar or those KFC hot shots.
  • Make the moment special by setting aside time to really savor it, away from distractions like phones or TV.
"Eating your favorite food is a great way to cheer yourself up if you've had a bad day. Emotional eating gets a bad reputation but it's actually perfectly natural and ok to do sometimes!"

— Bri Bell | Registered Dietitian, Frugal Minimalist Kitchen

Visit a Park or Garden

Getting out to a park or a garden is like hitting the refresh button. You get to be around all that green and all those flowers, and it’s super calming. Just being out there, with the sky above you and the sound of leaves rustling, can make the worries seem smaller.

Tip: Head to a local park or nearby garden. Don’t have a specific plan; just go with the flow. Take a moment to really notice the colors, the sounds, and the smells around you.

"Since the brain can only think about a set amount at one time, think about the world around you or your colleague or friend instead of whatever is getting you down... Take a walk through nature and really pay attention to its beauty."

— Clay Drinko, Ph.D. | Educator and Author, Play your Way Sane

Revisit Happy Memories

Digging into the good old times can really turn a frown upside down. It’s like re-watching your favorite feel-good movie but in your head. Those laughs, the crazy adventures, or even the chill hangouts; they’re like comfort food for your mood.

Remembering the good times shows you that tough days will pass, and good ones will come again.

Here’s an idea: Flick through old pics on your phone or pull out that dusty photo album from the shelf.

Compliment Someone (It’ll Make You Feel Good Too!)

Here’s a neat trick: saying something nice to someone else can actually boost your own spirits. When you make another person smile, it’s like happiness boomerangs back to you.

Letting someone know you notice them just for their neat sneakers or their cool attitude doesn’t cost a thing. Plus, it helps spread kindness.

Buy Yourself Flowers

Flowers aren’t just nice to look at; they’re like nature’s little helpers that can give your mood a boost.

Having a vase full of fresh blooms can make a room — and you — feel better. They’ve got this easy way of making us feel a bit more at home, a bit more cheered up.

  • Pick a color that makes you happy, and find flowers in that shade.
  • Choose flowers that have a scent you love; it can be like natural perfume for your room.
  • Place your flowers where you’ll see them first thing in the morning to start your day off bright.

Start a New TV Series

When you’re in a slump, kicking back with a new TV series can be just the ticket. You get to meet a whole bunch of new characters and maybe even visit places you’ve never been, all from your couch. It’s like a mini adventure every episode.

And let’s face it, getting hooked on a storyline can be a blast. The anticipation for the next episode can be a real mood lifter, giving you something exciting to look forward to at the end of a long day!

Try these series:

  • “Stranger Things” – A mix of adventure and the supernatural with a group of kids taking on otherworldly mysteries in the ’80s.
  • “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – A comedy show based around a quirky team of detectives in a New York police precinct.
  • “The Mandalorian” – A Star Wars adventure following a lone bounty hunter’s escapades in the outer galaxy.

Volunteer for a Cause You Care About

Giving your time to a cause close to your heart is incredibly rewarding. It’s a chance to make a difference, however big or small. 

Volunteering can connect you with new people, give you a sense of purpose, and remind you of the good in the world. And hey, it’s a chance to learn something new, which is always a bonus.

Tip: Check out online platforms that list volunteering opportunities. Offer your skills, whether it’s organizing, teaching, or anything else.

Redecorate a Room

Sometimes, a change of scenery is what you need right in your own home. Shifting stuff around, adding some new colors, or hanging up some cool pictures can breathe new life into your space.

It’s a fun project that lets your creative side out to play. You get to be the boss of your own little makeover show, and the end result is a fresh vibe around you.

What this looks like:

  • Rearrange the furniture to shake things up.
  • Add plants or flowers for some natural vibe.
  • Change the lighting with lamps or candles to create a cozy atmosphere.

Play a Game You Love

Games are a stellar way to shake off those blah feelings. Whether it’s video games, board games, or card games, they all have a way of pulling you into a fun zone and keeping your brain engaged.

You get to challenge yourself, maybe score some points, or enjoy a little friendly competition. It’s also a chance to laugh at the silly mistakes and celebrate the small victories.

Arrange a Day Off Just for Yourself

Taking a day just for yourself is like saying, “Hey, you’re important.” It’s setting aside all those must-do tasks and giving yourself a breather. This is a day where you get to decide what you want to do — no chores, no work calls, just ‘you time.

This kind of pause can recharge your batteries and let you get back to your routine with fresh energy. And the beauty is, it’s a mini-vacation without packing a suitcase or dealing with travel lines.

Have a Picnic, Even If It’s Indoor

A picnic is like a party with sandwiches, and it doesn’t even require nice weather! An indoor picnic can be just as fun and way more cozy. Spread out a blanket on the floor, have a basket of goodies ready, and enjoy your feast with a view of your choosing. 

And the best part? No ants invited! It’s a fantastic way to bond with your loved ones or just enjoy your own company in a new setting.

What this looks like:

  • Grab all your comfy pillows and create a super soft picnic spot.
  • Make some finger food — sandwiches, fruit, or cheese and crackers — easy to eat and no fuss.
  • Put on some chill music or nature sounds to set the vibe right.

Try a New Restaurant or Café

Is there anything more exciting than tasting food you’ve never tried before?

Going to a new restaurant or café is a little adventure on a plate (or in a cup). It’s a chance to explore different flavors and maybe find a new favorite dish or drink. It’s also a break from cooking, and that’s always a nice bonus.

Make a List of Dreams and Ambitions

Writing them down is a chance to get all those big ideas out of your head and onto paper, where they seem more real.

This list can be your motivation on the blah days — a reminder of all the awesome possibilities ahead. And the act of writing them down? It’s a powerful step in making them happen because it turns a wish into a plan!

What this looks like:

  • Jot down everything you’ve ever wanted to do, no matter how big or small.
  • Break the really big ambitions into smaller, more manageable steps.
  • Keep the list somewhere you can see it every day to keep your dreams in sight.

Join a Group Class or Meetup Event

Joining a group class or a meetup can help you learn something new with other people who are into the same thing. You get to share the experience, and hey, you might even make some new friends while you’re at it.

It’s all about the activity and the buzz of being around people and the good vibes that come from community and connection.

Here’s a tip: Sign up with a friend or go solo with an open mind, ready to learn and connect with others.

"Art, clay, or physical exercise! My latest indulgence is the Pound-fit class. We use drumsticks, called “Ripsticks”, because apparently if we do this class long enough, we’re going to be ripped. But I doubt it."

— Bobbe White | Speaker and Certified Laughter Leader Expert, Try Laughter! Inc.

Do a Puzzle or Brain Teaser

Working on a puzzle or tackling a brain teaser can be a really cool way to get your mind off things. It’s like a workout for your brain, but fun.

You get so wrapped up in finding that next piece or solving that riddle that everything else just fades away for a bit. This is perfect when you need a break from the usual grind but still want to feel productive.

Here’s a tip: Start with something light and fun, like a daily crossword or Sudoku from the newspaper or an app.

Visit a Local Museum or Gallery

Walking through a museum or gallery is like stepping into another world. You don’t just see art or artifacts; you feel them.

Each piece has its own vibe and history. It’s a chance to learn, escape, and get inspired all at once. And, you might just leave with a new perspective or a favorite artist.

A few things to consider:

  • Pick an exhibit that piques your interest, whether it’s modern art or ancient history.
  • Take your time with each display, really looking and considering.
  • Try going on a quiet weekday to avoid the crowds and have a more intimate experience.

Start a Small Garden or Care for Houseplants

Watching something grow because of your care is a powerful way to lift your spirits. 

Getting your hands dirty with a bit of soil is surprisingly relaxing, and seeing your plants thrive? That’s a solid day-maker.

Tip: Choose some easy-to-care-for plants that don’t need a green thumb.

Explore a New Part of Your City or Town

There’s always something new to discover close to home. It might be a park you’ve never visited, a historic house, or just an interesting-looking street. Taking a little trip in your own neck of the woods can be just as exciting as a vacation far away.

You’re bound to find some hidden gems that you didn’t even know existed. Plus, you get that adventure buzz without the travel fuss.

Take a Different Route on Your Walk or Drive

We’re creatures of habit, but breaking the routine can be a breath of fresh air. The next time you go out for a walk or a drive, why not mix it up a little?

By changing your path, you get to see new things, and you never know what interesting sights you might come across. It stimulates your brain and keeps things exciting. Turn left where you usually go right and let’s see where you end up!

What this looks like:

  • If you usually take the fastest route, try one that looks prettier or more scenic.
  • Look for a road with lots of trees or a view that you haven’t seen before.
  • If you’re used to driving, try walking or biking for a new perspective.

Go to the Cinema

Nothing beats the feeling of settling into a cinema seat with popcorn in hand, ready to lose yourself in a movie. It’s a couple of hours where nothing else matters except the story on the big screen.

It’s a total switch-off from the everyday worries for a while. And hey, that jumbo screen and epic sound system? They make everything more gripping.

More Takeaways From the Experts

“Try something you have never tried before. Learn to sail, run a 5K, a new language, or even a new recipe!”

Kari Wendorf | Director of Training, Combined Insurance

“To cheer myself up, I often take a quick break from work and watch something online that makes me smile. I usually watch crazy cat videos, cute baby videos, online pranks, hilarious gifs, or funny memes.”

William Taylor | Career Development Manager, MintResume

“Move around, stretch, shake your body out. Simply moving your body and getting some blood flow going on can make a huge difference.”

Declan Edwards | Founder, BU Coaching

Frequently Asked Questions

Can exercise really help cheer me up?

Yes, exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it also triggers the release of endorphins, also known as ‘happy hormones,’ which can improve your mood and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.

What if I can’t seem to cheer myself up, no matter what I try?

If you’ve tried various strategies and still feel down, consider talking to a professional like a therapist or counselor. They can help you explore underlying issues and develop personalized strategies to improve your mood.

How does helping others cheer me up?

Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and connection, which are key components of happiness. Acts of kindness often lead to a phenomenon known as the “helper’s high,” boosting your own mood as you improve someone else’s day.

How can I maintain a cheerful outlook on life?

Maintaining a cheerful outlook involves a mix of ongoing practices like exercising, spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and mindfulness.

Always having something to look forward to, big or small, can also keep you in a positive frame of mind. It’s about balance and giving yourself permission to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

How important is self-talk in cheering myself up?

Very important. Our internal dialogue can have a big impact on how we feel. Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive, constructive ones to help shift your mindset and mood.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, friend – a handful of simple but powerful ways to cheer yourself up when life gets tough. Remember, it’s okay to have bad days, and it’s okay to feel down sometimes.

What matters most is how you choose to respond to those feelings and the steps you take to care for yourself.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling low, try out one or more of these strategies. With a little effort and a lot of self-love, you’ll be well on your way to a happier, more positive you. You’ve got this!

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant.

When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.